23 June, 2020
Industries Late into 2019, we were made aware of the ongoing battle China was forced into by a novel virus called the Covid-19. At that time, we were also soon assured by the World Health Organization (WHO) of no clear evidence of human to human transmission of the virus.
Fast-forward to today, there are over three million cases and the virus wreaks further global havoc. There hardly remains any industry around the world that hasn’t been impacted. Over the last 20 years, the healthcare industry was seen as recession-proof. However, the pandemic has physicians and dentists reducing staff to cope with the changing times.
Today we take a look at the ten most severely affected industries by coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown. Let’s get started!
1. Airlines and Hotels
Preventive measures of the airborne virus have led to the devastation of any business even closely associated with the tourism industry. The restrictions were first imposed against East Asian travelers and further extended to Europe. WHO also released a statement where they acknowledged that the transmission of the infection may occur between passengers in the same area of the aircraft. With no vaccine in sight, countries were forced to close their borders and eventually led to the suspension of all forms of travel.
The Economic Times has reported the aviation sector in India may lose as much as Rs 85,000 crores along with 29 Lakh jobs. The total stimulus package-1 stood at 1.7 lakh crore. Here, the workers in the airline industry that were not fired were forced into unpaid leave. According to equity master shares of most hotels, leisure, and airline firms have tumbled 60% to date. Falling fuel prices too didn’t provide any relief caused by the lack of demand.
2. Automobile Industry
The last thing an industry experiencing a prolonged slowdown for more than 20 months now needed would be a period of inactivity. According to FTAuto, the Indian Auto sector earns gross revenue of 2000 crores per day. As the lockdown is prolonged the losses in the automobile industry keep getting added up.
What makes the auto industry further susceptible to being impacted by the virus is the dependence on various players for different parts. Even one missing part from Tier-1 or Tier-2 is enough to stop entire carmakers or whole industries. Considering that the Indian auto industry relies on China for 27% of the imports in 2020 has been a further worst year as the regions are dealing with the virus at different time periods. Unfortunately for India, Maharashtra aka the Indian Automobile industry has over 8600 cases.
— Recovery lessons from China
As China was at the epicenter of the virus, noticing how their industry reacted would help us potentially understand the industry may face. China has faced disruptions in its automobile industry even after localizing 95% of the production. Based on these figures prolonged disruptions can be expected in the Indian automobile industry.
3. Construction and Retail Industry
This industry suffers from the direct implications of the virus. The majority of the job losses due to the pandemic are in the construction sector. Presently most of the relief measures introduced by the government are directed towards workers in the real estate sector.
This is due to the high number of daily wage workers in the industry. The sector was already affected in the month of February and March. The effects are to last due to its reliance on China for Raw Materials. Even luxury construction segments are to face raw material scarcity. This is because Italy the world’s leading supplier for stone and furniture has been the worst hit. These inputs will be seen in the form of higher costs and delayed project completion throughout the industry.
4. Textile Industry
The textile industry in India employs over 105 million and earns around $40 billion in foreign exchange. This industry similar to the construction industry is labor-intensive. And hence, it adds to the troubles due to the lockdown.
The nature of the industry will require concentrated relief efforts by the government. The city of Tirupur serves as the perfect embodiment of the textile industry. With over 10,000 factories it generates Rs 25,000 crores wealth through exports and the same domestically. A three-month loss due to the pandemic ould amount to Rs.12000 crore. Of the 129 Lakh people who depend on the city’s textile industry, 25% would have to face job losses.
The textile industry in India depends on China for both imports and exports. India exports 20 – 25 million Kg’s a month to China. These exports have been affected due to a lack of demand from China. Imports from China include $460 million worth synthetic yarn and $360 million worth synthetic fibers.
5. Freight and Logistics
The freight and logistic industry face troubles due to the lockdown in three delivery phases
- The fist includes loading. This is due to the lack of manpower.
- The second involves the transportation phase. With many states closing their borders and truckers are being forced to abandon the consignment.
- The final stage involves unloading issues also due to a lack of power.
Lack of drivers, loaders, and unloaders have plagued the supply chain.
The future after the lockdown is uncertain as the demand will decide if the freight and logistics industry thrives. The fear of economic uncertainty may force consumers to tighten their spending. However, to support all the other industries that will awaken after the lockdown will require an increase in capacity to meet the demands.
6. Metals and Mining
The steel production and allied activities such as mining have been covered under the Essential Commodities Act. This does not provide much relief as the producers and miners face the challenge of producing with all the demand wiped out.
The essential commodities act, however, does not cover nonferrous metals such as Aluminium, copper, zinc, and lead. These add to the troubles as unlike other industries metal production cannot be switched off and started again when required. The cost of starting again would involve losses incurred due to the disruption of the continuous process involving smelters and potlines.
7. Oil and Gas Industry
The cheaper crude oil, however, will help in reducing the Current Account Deficit. This will also provide multiple other benefits for the government. The fuel subsidies provided can also be expected to decline. In addition, the government can also raise duties to boost revenue. The revenue mopped up can be used to revive other sectors.
8. Power Industry
The lockdown has reduced power consumption by 46000 MW since March 20th. This is one of the primary challenges faced by only the Power sector i.e. no scope for inventory. Units once generated during the lockdown are represented as lost demand. The lockdown has reduced power consumption due to industries being shut.
In addition, the government has asked power generators to continue the supply of power even if the payments are not received for the next 3 months. The only silver lining is the opportunity for gas-based power generation to take advantage of the low prices. But the reduced demand has kept them from leveraging this opportunity.
The Power sector has been a loss-making enterprise even before the pandemic. The total outstanding dues of the power sector stood at Rs 88,311 crores as of January 2020.
9. Consumer and Retail Industry
In retail Food and Grocery accounts for about $550 billion. The textile and apparel account for $65 billion. Consumer electronic durable is worth $50 billion. Each of these sectors is affected by the purchasing power in the hands of the consumers. The great lockdown has put stress on the purchasing power in the hands of the people. This is due to the job losses and availability of other sources of income.
In addition, people brace themselves by reducing spending on nonessential items in textile and apparel and the consumer electronic durables. The further impact will be based on the duration of the virus. The textile and apparel and consumer electronics may lose out on their seasonal demand. For eg. AC sales during the summer season.
Once the lockdown is lifted the size of the retail business will also play a role to determine how much stress it will face. Traditional and independent retailers generally have fewer employees. Bigger retail businesses will face the heat due to their large employee requirements to be met and additional burden due to rent.
10. Chemical Industry
The Chemical industry is worth 163 billion covering more than 80000 chemical products. The impact on the chemical industry is primarily due to its dependence on China for the procurement of raw materials.
As the table shows, not only India but globally every country has been severely dependent on China. Any impact on the chemical industry will be further felt in the agricultural industry too. This is due to the dependence of fertilizer companies on China for imports of Raw Material.
The industries we observed above wouldn’t generally resort to laying off employees. This is because these industries it is more expensive for the new employees to be trained again in comparison to keeping them employed. The lay off’s show that the pandemic and the great lockdown has forced industries into a corner. The revival of these industries will require an individual industry-wise focus to boost the economy.